President's Message : June 2017

The IEEE Power Electronics Society Continues to Flourish in 2017

by Alan Mantooth

Having just returned from the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) in Tampa, Florida, I have some observations that I think are noteworthy. First, the conference overall was a great success. The venue, the weather, and the exhibition were all highlights. I will leave a rundown of the specifics to others as appropriate, but we all owe a debt of gratitude to APEC General Chair Jonathan Kimball and his organizing committee for a wonderful conference.

Another observation is that the broader engineering community is becoming increasingly more interested in our expanding field.  This is not a new phenomenon, but it is definitely continuing. APEC, for instance, is flourishing to such an extent that I am told we will be too large to return to the Tampa Convention Center. The good news is that next year it is in San Antonio, Texas, home to another great river walk!

My final observation pertaining to APEC is that the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) leadership held its first advisory committee meeting of the year to unveil the plans for the next two years from the officers and update the committee on our finances, publications, conferences, standards, membership activities, and new initiatives. We are operating well in 2017 after another successful year in 2016, and we are actively engaging volunteers in new initiatives and existing activities. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to participate. We have several areas that need attention as activity continues to increase.

The Plan for 30

PELS will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2018. The Plan for 30 includes the following goals:

·         successfully complete the IEEE-level review of several of our publications in 2017 and the Society in 2018

·         improve the length of time for conference proceedings to appear in IEEE Xplore

·         maintain the impressive submission-to-publication timing for our journals

·         initiate virtual conferences and workshops

·         increase our webinar and online educational content

·         streamline the conference application and approval process

·         create a resource center for information sharing for conferences, technical committees and Society activities

·         complete the International Technology Road Map for Wide-Bandgap Power Semiconductors formation and advance it to steady-state operation

·         expand the technical thrusts within our committees

·         sustain membership growth of 5% per year

·         enhance our presence in identified regions around the globe

·         launch the humanitarian and mentorship initiatives

·         expand our technical reach in electronic transmission and distribution and cybersecurity

The officers leading these efforts have identified the need for additional volunteers. Therefore, we welcome members of all ages and professional fields to join us as we move forward with this plan.

Integral to these efforts are the members-at-large, elected by the Society members. The members-at-large for PELS who were recently elected for a three-year term beginning in 2017are:

·         Sibylle Dieckerhoff

·         Dan Kinzer

·         Marco Liserre

·         Annette Muetze

·         Joao Pinto

·         Mark Dehong Xu

I want to congratulate them and also encourage members of our Society to reach out to them (or me) with any questions or concerns about our activities and operations. If you visit the Society web page ( and click on the “About” menu, you will see the entire Advisory Committee is listed there. Any of these individuals can be contacted for input or feedback on Society activities.

Wireless Matters

Another emerging area involving power electronics is wireless power transfer. Outstanding contributions to this exciting field have been, and continue to be, made by members of our Society. This wireless power transfer activity is precisely the “magic-like” technology that captivates non-electrical engineers. It excites people of all ages and attracts young individuals to our field with the promise that they will become contributors. Technologies such as cellular phones, wind and solar energy, and space exploration have been just as equally captivating in the past. (On a related note, I hope you enjoy the article by Daga et al. on page 24 in this issue of IEEE Power Electronics Magazine.) As a Society, we will do all we can to advertise and promote this area as it continues to develop.

Personal Notes

I close this issue’s “President’s Message” with a few remarks about two of my former academic advisors who passed away in successive days while I was attending APEC: Jerry Yeargan and Bill Brown. It might be the case that few of you would know them because they were not power electronics professionals. They were semiconductor guys. Yeargan taught at the University of Arkansas (UA) for 40 years. Among other contributions, Brown started the High Density Electronics Center at UA, which has become the foundation of our power electronics packaging program, spinoff companies, and a service to companies large and small throughout the world as they seek to advance their products. Both men had tremendous influence on my professional development in circuits, devices and semiconductor fabrication. I salute them here.

The loss of both gentlemen came on the heels of Thomas G. Wilson, Sr. who passed away in February. PELS History Chair Ger Hurley composed a marvelous tribute to Wilson that Jonathan Kimball presented during the opening of the APEC plenary session; see the “In Memoriam” column on page 98. To summarize, Wilson was there at the beginning of power electronics, and he helped to establish the IEEE Power Electronics Specialists Conference, and the Power Electronics Council – the forerunner to PELS. He clearly had a tremendous influence on the field through his work and that of his students. As a founding father of PELS, it is only fitting that we celebrate his contributions, influence, gentlemanly approach, and friendship. To these great men and their families, I want to say thank you for all that you have done – personally and professionally. Godspeed to you all!